April 11 2018
| Region: North East & Cumbria, North West, Yorkshire & the Humber
Transport for the North formally took up its statutory powers last Thursday as England’s first ever sub national transport body. At an inaugural meeting in Liverpool, 19 local and combined authorities came together with business leaders to form a leadership board.
“It’s a watershed moment for devolution and a once in a generation opportunity to deliver significant improvements in the north’s transport network,” said the group’s chairman John Cridland.
He added that its strategic transport plan will set the blueprint for transport infrastructure improvements across the next 30 years, allowing it to make a “strong and consistent case to Government” for sustained investment in the north.
Work has started already, he added. “We’re developing fully costed proposals for Northern Powerhouse Rail, developing plans for major road improvements including a trans Pennine tunnel, starting to roll out smart ticketing and are driving tangible service improvements through our co-management of Rail North franchises. This coming year will be the busiest and most important yet.”
Transport Minister Jo Johnson commented: “With significant new powers enabling Transport for the North to speak with one voice and drive forward crucial projects, such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and smart ticketing, I am confident that TfN will play a pivotal role in delivering the future of northern transport.”
Welcoming the news, Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association director Marie-Claude Hemming said: “For too long, the north of England has been allowed to lag behind the South East. Granting statutory powers to Transport for the North is a milestone that will facilitate the delivery of essential infrastructure, which will create jobs, boost skills provision and drive economic growth.”
The development means Transport for the North becomes a statutory partner to the Department of Transport and recommendations made will have to be formally considered by Government.
Powers granted allow Transport for the North to construct new roads — with the agreement of Government and relevant highway and local authorities — and decide on capital grants.
The organisation will also implement a strategic transport plan, relay the region’s priorities to the Secretary of State, co-ordinate and deliver smart ticketing systems, become a statutory partner in road and rail investment decisions and oversee rail franchises alongside the DfT.
The ability to create sub national transport bodies to plan and prioritise long term infrastructure investment in a specific region was created by Parliament with an amendment to the Local Transport Act 2008 which was passed in January 2016.
John Cridland is pictured (right) with Jo Johnson (centre) and TfN chief executive Barry White.
♦ The full list of Transport for the North’s local and combined authority partners is as follows:
Blackburn with Darwen Council
Cheshire East Council
Cheshire West & Chester Council
City of York Council
Cumbria County Council
East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Hull City Council
Lancashire County Council
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
North East Combined Authority
North East Lincolnshire Council
North Lincolnshire Council
North Yorkshire County Council
Sheffield City Region Combined Authority
Tees Valley Combined Authority
Warrington Borough Council
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
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April 25 2018